Because as wild and wooly as last week was for the Oakland Raiders with Antonio Brown's histrionics, the spotlight had to find someone lined up wide. And there was Williams, who was relatively new to the WR1 role but played the part to the hilt.
"It's big," Williams said after torching the Denver Broncos for 105 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Raiders' 24-16 victory on Monday.
"Obviously, [Brown] is a big distraction. Took a lot of people's minds and stuff going into this week. But, you know, I think we did a great job of just letting that [only] be a distraction, let it be what it was and just keep working. We knew we were going to play, regardless, so just let it be what it was and do what we want to do."
Williams pretty much did whatever he wanted as Carr's primary deep threat, averaging 17.5 yards per catch, and Oakland's passing offense was on point sans Brown.
Four plays, all on third downs, summed up Williams' night. ...
On his first-quarter TD, Williams was lined up on the right side at the Denver 8-yard line. After the snap on third-and-2 he floated across to the left in the end zone. Carr hit him with a perfect pass that just eluded the outstretched fingertips of Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell, and Williams beat free safety Justin Simmons to the ball for the score. NFL Next Gen Stats saw it as a tight-window throw, and Carr had only two tight-window TD throws last season.
In the second quarter, with the Raiders facing a third-and-1 at their own 28-yard line and the Broncos flooding the box in anticipation of a run, Williams was lined up wide left as Oakland went heavy right (offensive lineman Brandon Parker was on right tackle Trent Brown's right shoulder and tight end Darren Waller was on his right with fullback Alec Ingold and running back Josh Jacobs in the backfield). Carr, under center, went play-action, faking the handoff to Jacobs before lofting a deep ball to Williams, who had run by cornerback Isaac Yiadom and ran under Carr's ball for a huge 43-yard pickup to jump-start the Raiders' 95-yard TD drive. Williams had five catches of at least 30 yards in 2018, though Oakland had only three as a team.
Then there was his fourth-quarter outstretched catch on a laser in traffic from Carr down the seam between cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and Simmons, a 24-yard pickup on third-and-6 that set the Raiders up at the Broncos' 4-yard line with more than 12 minutes to play.
Williams closed things out with a 10-yard, screen-pass catch-and-run on third-and-8 on the left side (left tackle Kolton Miller had a huge block to spring Williams) just after the two-minute warning. The Raiders ran out the clock.
"We were aware of Tyrell Williams," lamented Broncos edge rusher Von Miller on Monday. "He played with the Chargers and did a lot of great things with them, so we were aware of those guys. We just got outplayed today."
With the Chargers, Williams was Robin to Keenan Allen's Batman. He was supposed to take on a similar role with Brown in Oakland.
"I'm really happy for Tyrell Williams," Gruden said. "Our receiving corps took a hit, obviously. Tyrell Williams is capable of being a No. 1, frontline guy for us."
"Every ball thrown [to] him is into a tight window," Carr said. "He did this against really good competition, you know? I told you guys from Day 1, you've got Trent Brown, that was Christmas. And we've got Tyrell Williams, and I don't even know what’s better than Christmas, but this kid's pretty good, you know what I mean? We got some big gifts this year, and that guy proved today that he can do that at a high level.
"And the best part about it is that he's a great guy. Great guy, fun to work with, he even came out to Bakersfield. That's just the type of guy he is. He went down to Bakersfield and worked with me, and I appreciate it and it’s paying off."
The Raiders need those dividends to keep coming in, especially with the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs rolling into town on Sunday.